With some recipes, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
I’ve looked to others for allergen-friendly recipes for matzo balls, the classic Jewish dumpling. I’ve successfully made these delicious gluten-free and dairy-free matzo balls, as well as grain-free matzo balls.
However, the gluten-free AND vegan matzo ball has eluded me for years. After many tries, I couldn’t seem to come up with something that worked – every attempt ended up with me making a sad face over a pot of boiling water dotted with crumbled bits of dough.
Am I a quitter? Sure. If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s food waste – especially since there was no way to repurpose my failed gluten-free and vegan matzo balls into something awesome.
It seemed as if you could only make matzo balls if you eliminated the binding proteins in gluten or egg, but not both.
Then, as Passover came and went a few weeks ago, I wondered if some genius out there had figured out a way to create a gluten-free and vegan matzo ball. The answer is yes! And of course the genius is Nava Atlas, one of the queens of vegan cooking.
I think one of the keys here is baking the matzo balls instead of the traditional method of boiling them – a notion that didn’t occur to me in the slightest.
This recipe is barely adapted Nava’s original version. I tried these matzo balls using quinoa flakes and buckwheat flakes, and I much preferred the buckwheat version. I found the version with the quinoa flakes far too quinoa-y.
Quinoa-y. It’s a vague descriptor, I know. But it’s really the best way I can pinpoint why I didn’t favour the quinoa flake iteration.
You might be wondering where you can find buckwheat flakes, and it’s a fair question. I picked up a bag at a now-defunct health food store, and haven’t seen it on shelves since. You can find them online – and I fully appreciate if you don’t want to bother and use quinoa flakes instead.
Just don’t blame me if they turn out too quinoa-y.
- 1 cup buckwheat flakes, divided
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp fresh herbs (I used a mix of parsley, chives and rosemary)
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- Put ½ cup of the buckwheat flakes into a small bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot water. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes (you can chop up the herbs during this time).
- Stir in the remaining ½ cup buckwheat flakes, olive oil, herbs and seasonings. Mix well, then pop into the fridge to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
- Remove the matzo ball mixture from the fridge. Lightly wet your palms, pinch off about a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Repeat with the remaining dough. I got about 18 balls from my dough.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the balls halfway through the baking time. Serve with your favourite soup.